Bulls center Robin Lopez continues to make the most out of lineup yo-yo

SHARE Bulls center Robin Lopez continues to make the most out of lineup yo-yo

DETROIT — It hasn’t been easy for Bulls center Robin Lopez.

He abruptly has gone from a starter to a guy who has played in only five games since All-Star Weekend. Yet he hasn’t complained publicly.


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While his playing time has been cut drastically — the organization’s explanation was that it wanted to check out the younger players — Lopez has actually stayed in a decent scoring rhythm.

He was shooting 53 percent from the field before the break and 67 percent after.

“I’m still practicing with the guys,’’ Lopez said, “still getting up and down in that capacity. It’s a little different. Obviously, I’m not going out there and . . . I’m not somebody that’s just commanding the ball every possession down the floor. So it’s easy for me to just kind of find my spots where I feel comfortable.’’

It has been quite a different story for Justin Holiday.

Like Lopez, he has seen his playing time decrease dramatically since the front office decided to focus on developing youth. Unlike Lopez, his rhythm obviously has suffered.

Holiday was shooting 38 percent from the field before the break, but, in limited playing time, he was shooting only 29 percent in his seven previous games. His dip in three-point shooting was even more pronounced, going from 37 percent to 28 percent since the All-Star break.

Both players have maintained that they feel good physically, and Lopez said he has no plans to change his offseason workout program just because of his limited minutes since mid-February.

When asked what his offseason workout program consists of, especially with all the traveling he likes to do in the summer, Lopez joked, “Lots of backpacking but no inclines.’’

Road trip

Lauri Markkanen (back), Kris Dunn (turf toe) and Zach LaVine (tendinitis in left knee) didn’t make the trip to Detroit for the game on Saturday, but coach Fred Hoiberg plans to take all three on the three-city trip to Houston, Miami and Orlando next week.

“I do think it’s important to have those guys around the team as much as possible, even if they’re not playing,’’ Hoiberg said. “Zach has talked about how he really wants to help as far as being around for the young guys, talking to them, leading them.

“Kris has been really good in that role, as well. And, hopefully, we’ll have Lauri playing at least in some of those games. Those guys will be around.

‘‘We’re going to keep rehabbing them and treating them like we’re going to get them back on the court. And we’ll see how that process goes.’’

Helping hand?

The Bulls signed forward Jaylen Johnson from their G League team and reassigned him to the Windy City Bulls. The 6-9 Johnson, who attended Louisville, played in 49 games for the G League Windy City Bulls, averaging 11.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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